Tea Party Crasher

A journey into the heart of the paranoid strain of American politics.

By Jonathan Valania
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 76 | Posted Feb. 2, 2010

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Photo by alex fine

Most hands went up. “I’ve been kicking mine, amazing it still works!” someone called out from the back. Everyone chuckled.

How many of you are Fox News fanatics? Every hand but mine went up. I quickly raised mine.

 How many are Glenn Beck groupies? The hands stayed up. “I prefer ‘Glenn Beck junkie’,” someone called out.

 Another blonde in her fifties, dressed in a cropped corduroy blazer and jeans, took the microphone; the same woman with whom I bonded over our shared faux-love for Ayn Rand. “My name is Christy and I am a recovering liberal,” she announced. In the crowd, necks craned, eyes narrowed, some gasped, others sighed piteously, shaking their heads. Christy had been born into a union family and the Democrats were for the little guys, she said, and like everyone else in her family she had adopted the liberal orthodoxy without giving it much thought. That is, until the day her brother-in-law dared her to listen to Rush Limbaugh. At first, she said, she had been aghast and appalled at the things Rush said and then one day something clicked and she was no longer aghast and appalled. These days Christy was proudly pro-waterboarding and anti-universal health care. And while some of her best friends were liberals, she hadn’t talked to them in a while. The crowd laughed.

For the next 10 minutes, Christy delivered a mini-seminar entitled ‘How to talk to a Liberal.’ She told us it’s best not to back up your arguments with ‘I heard it on Rush or Glenn Beck,’ as liberals hate those shows. No, she declared, you must back up your arguments with experts that liberals respect: a college professor or a think tank like The Heritage Foundation—they have lots of smart guys. Liberals love smart guys. Or The New York Times , even if the truth is always buried in the back pages. Liberals, Christy assured the crowd, LOVE The New York Times .

“Terrorists!” yelled someone from the back. Everyone smiled. This was, apparently, Tea Party humor. My inner Volvo-driving latte was frothing over with rage. Veins of righteous anger bulged in my neck. Steady, man, don’t give yourself away. Must. Not. Go. Liberal Hulk.

 Mercifully, Christy handed the mic over to Rick Lacy, who reminded me of my fifth grade math teacher: low-key, exacting and unflappable. Lacy was all about the math. Strength is in numbers, he said. Lacy was there to explain how to run for the local and state committees that select the candidates that run for Republican office. The plan was to take back the Republican Party inch-by-inch, packing elections with Tea Party-approved candidates, starting at the local level and working its way up through the state level and ultimately the federal level. Getting on committees isn’t hard, said Lacy, it’s just that most people don’t know how to go about it, and the Republican Party elders prefer it that way. But that was gonna change.

“The Republican Party needs an enema,” shouted one man in the crowd. Lacy nodded; he was just the man to do it.

 “The Democratic party has never been more left!” shouted another.

 At that point they opened it up to take questions from the audience. Mostly, there was a lot of venting.

 “They call us teabaggers and that’s a pejorative term, you know,” said one man. Most everyone nodded. If for nothing else, the Tea Party movement will go down into history for having clued a lot of people of a certain age in to the slang term for a certain sexual act.

“History will look back and ask how that person, with that name and that background and those questionable associations ever got elected president,” said another party-goer.

“They call us racist because we oppose the president’s policies,” added the guy who pointed out that ‘teabagger’ was a bad word.

“They call us radicals but our core belief is the Constitution,” said yet another white, pension-aged male. “We are only as radical as the Founding Fathers!”

 As the meeting wound down, I helped myself to a couple of tasty brownies from the snack table and slipped out the back door. There were, however, a few questions I wish I would have broken out of fly-on-the-wall mode and asked: Where was all this righteous anger about careless government spending when the last administration was merrily handing out $600 billion in tax cuts for the super-rich that sent the deficit skyrocketing? Where was all this fear of big government and Constitutional watch-dogging when the Patriot Act was passed and the government started monitoring every American citizen’s phone calls and emails and web traffic? Where was the rage when President George W. Bush reserved the right to arrest any American at any time for any reason and hold him or her without charge indefinitely, when habeas corpus was suspended, when torturing prisoners became just how we roll, and when hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars were dumped into the bottomless money pit of two wars? Where were the Tea Parties when all that was going on?

Just to be clear: The Tea Partiers I met aren’t bad people, they are not overtly racist, and they sincerely believe there is something patriotic in their kicking-and-screaming resistance to the Obama agenda. Therein lies the appeal, because we can all agree we are being screwed. It’s the question of who is doing the screwing that breaks us off into different tribes. I tend to blame the corporate oligarchy, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. The Tea Party is pretty sure it’s ACORN.

Still, in their own way they are inclusive, the big tent party of American anger. The incoherence of that anger only broadens its appeal—like Obama’s “change” mantra in reverse, it’s a mirrorball that can reflect whatever you project onto it. But when you get right down to it, the Tea Party crowd is just a lot of embittered old white people that watch too much Fox News. They take great comfort in the easy moral narratives the network peddles: that it’s us versus them, there are good guys and there are bad guys and never the twain shall meet, that America is special and can do whatever the fuck it wants because God is on our side. They feed on the manufactured outrage and non-troversey that every news cycle seems to bring because it dovetails nicely with the sublimated anger and fear of their own lives. They are at war and have been for years, they are overextended and under water, they are certain the game is being rigged against them and the terrorists are holding a gun to their heads. For them, the 2008 presidential election still isn’t over—not by a long shot. ■

Jonathan Valania is the editor- in-chief of Phawker.com.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 76 of 76
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1. republicanblack said... on Feb 2, 2010 at 07:13PM

“We need a new message for the party, we need common sense leadership spread the word do your part. I want my Party back!! See what made me say enough is enough!!!

http://bit.ly/republicanmanifesto

Check it out”

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2. Bridget said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 08:53AM

“Wow, well done Jonathan. Makes me want to do some of my own espionage. Except that I probably won't be able to hold back like you did.”

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3. ritabootoo said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 10:16AM

“Glad you started your article with the warning: "The story you are about to read is neither fair nor balanced; just true." I believe you. Too bad you didn't come out of your fly-on-the-wall mode and courageously ask your questions. Why didn't you? I think you are an excellent wordsmith. I would love to see you set your bias aside for once. Instead, I felt as tho' I was reading someone's blog entry...”

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4. Anonymous said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 11:06AM

“The author adjectives are one-sided biased as are the descriptions of scenes. It is a complete turn-off on reading the report .I want accuracy and it feels like observing through a hazy, dreary day. No information submitted on substance.”

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5. Anonymous said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 11:59AM

“.....kind of like the Glenn Beck show.”

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6. Blossom said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 12:21PM

“THANK YOU!!!!!! for giving us insight to the madness. This will help the common man and woman of America win the fight for change.”

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7. SAL said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 02:24PM

“I have no interest in politics from "one side of the spectrum or the other" but you DEFINITELY had a bias. Not just "the truth," my friend, I'm sorry.

It de-legitimized your article to the extreme.

Maybe if you started thinking of the left = the right you would write a better piece. More like government vs little/voluntary/no government. Then you'd possibly start seeing straight.

Tea partiers are on the right track . . . just not fully there yet. They see that most of government is bullcrap, but still tend to side with "conservatives." Glenn Beck used to be more neo-con, now he's slowly becoming independent, something to look into when criticizing the tea party messiah. Also, he discusses issues that Obama or Bush would not dare talk about -- the Federal Reserve, the spending, the drug war . . .

-To be continued, I got cut off!

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8. SAL said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 02:37PM

“I've been involved in the "less/no government" movement for over a year now, and I have yet to meet a racist tea partier, though, which is a good thing.

Most want more social and economic freedoms, especially the youth. I don't think one can argue against legalization of marijuana and less taxes, seriously. Less bureaucracy is a good thing, too.

If you label yourself as a liberal or democrat, I could stereotype you now, as the author stereotyped tea partiers. But I'll actually be truthful! Ahem. You want social freedoms. You want lower cost of tuition. Let's see. Low health care costs. "Save the environment" in the meantime? These are just some things you want.

Now, I know that none of that is going to come from supporting a democrat in political office. Sorry. I only speak the truth, as I've said.

If you're a democrat, I recommend looking into the following: free markets, personal responsibility, self ownership, and "the harm principle."

Then talk to me.”

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9. brendancalling said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 02:43PM

“great work Jon, fantastic.
and you can tell it's awesome by the recent arrivals of the waaaaahmbulance in comments.”

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10. Jim Babb said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 02:45PM

“Were you paid by the word for this piece? Yes, some people are dumb enough to watch Fox News. So what? Nice try with the cloak-and-dagger stuff, as if anyone would care that a writer for a minor free paper was there. They probably sent out a press release about the meeting, because they were afraid of media attention. Good thing you shaved to avoid detection.

Perhaps you should write about what's going to happen to all the government dependents, when their daddy-state runs out of stolen loot. What will happen when the currency is dumped around the world? I know that is a little tougher than writing about your choice of shoes and what you ate at the snack table.”

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11. Jeff said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 02:57PM

“As a Libertarian, I have mixed feelings about the tea party movement, and feel its been coopted to a certain extent by the social conservative right wingers.

The author however, abandons any pretext of attempting to cover the story in an unbiased fashion, as evidenced by line after line of faulty assumptions and implied racism.

I am referring to comments like:
“People who have not earned them” being, perhaps, a nice way of saying low-income, non-white people.

Perhaps not Jon.”

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12. Red Pill said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 03:22PM

“The people who are commenting that you refer to as the "wahhhhmbulance" are simply not SHEEP, brendancalling. Would you prefer that no one commented or had any feedback on this article?”

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13. cn2004 said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 04:26PM

“A ratio of 248 whites to 2 blacks? Hey Jonathon, what's the ratio of whites to blacks at the Philadelphia Weekly? I'll bet that puny weekly salary of yours that it doesn't come close to matching the racial makeup of the city you're in. Typical gutless liberal coward, implying racism in your article against conservatives/republicans/teapartyers but saying nothing about the racism of liberals/progressives like yourself and that rag you work for.”

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14. brendancalling said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 05:08PM

“@red pill: no they're not sheep, but they sure are dumb.

Look: in the VERY FIRST LINE, mr. valania states "The story you are about to read is neither fair nor balanced."

so then all these people cry "waaaah, not fair, not balanced" as if they were expecting a typical "person A says the sky is blue, but there's controversy, because person B says the sky is plaid." Reading comprehension much? feedback is great, but when reading it, I'm going to use qualitative AND quantitative measures. And a lot of these count as calls for the waaahmbulance: for instance, comment 13.

Hilarious.”

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15. Michael Molloy said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 05:09PM

“Jonathan,
You ask many good questions in the 3rd to last paragraph... but why did it take you so long to ask those questions? Most people in the RP/Liberty movement have been asking these questions for as long as they've been involved or at least since the tea party movement was co-opted by various neocons (of course most of us don't lead into these questions with a diatribe toward those we hope to have a dialogue with).
If you really believe that we are being screwed by "the corporate oligarchy, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex" then all you need to do is understand how both parties and the FED have enabled these entities to become so powerful as to be able to screw us.
Please join us at one of our upcoming events... No need for camouflage or subterfuge as all are welcome.
This film about the Military Industrial Complex may be of interest:
http://www.truth-freedom-prosperity.ws/calendar/12363684/
WHY WE FIGHT @ Ethical Society Building 2/15 @ 7PM
Peace,
Michael”

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16. John Donohue said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 05:49PM

“I love it when lefties like this author throw the race card right away. They just can't refrain from soiling themselves. It invalidates integrity, signaling to all they deserve no respect and certainly signaling that we Americans have nothing to fear: they are out of ammo.

Yes, we are not going to take the 2008 election, but not because Barack Obama is black. Nope. It's because he IS a Bolshevik, just like he tried to be all huffy about yesterday.

This country is not France.”

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17. deeney said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 06:04PM

“I AGREE THIS AUTHOR IS SOCIALIST HIPPY WHY DO THEY PRINT TRASH LIKE THIS WHERE'S THE BALANCE??????/”

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18. Schvenzlerman said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 06:32PM

“Jonathan - To "thoughtfully and lawfully halt and reverse escalating governmental control of so many aspects of our everyday lives” sounds like a straight-up good idea. Government fails at virtually everything it touches and being free to do whatever one wants provided that one harms no one or their property sure beats being a financial widget for the regime.

Yes, please come to the Why We Fight screening at the Ethical Society. We'll buy you beers!

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19. Todd said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 07:06PM

“So you crashed the party, heard some right wing rhetoric, ate their refreshments, went home and thought about what you should've said? From the tone of this article I was expecting the Grand Dragon carrying the Nazi flag! How anti-climactic! Next time ask some tough questions!”

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20. DelcoPat said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 08:03PM

“Mr. Valania: As one of the more active members of the Delaware County Patriots ( www.delcopatriots.com ), I am only disappointed that I was in San Francisco attending a business meeting (not all of us are retired) because if you had come to the December meeting, you would have had the pleasure of hearing ME speak. I would love to have read your description of me. Slightly overweight, balding, Tony Robbins wannabe, but I digress. Contrary to your assumption, you neither had to hide, give a false name (John Galt was hardly "benign" by the way, if you recall your reading, he caused the collapse of the charity at gunpoint government), or even dress "funny." We'd have let you in and welcomed you. You may be surprised to learn that we have members running for office as Democrats as well as Independents. We love our country and agree with you on many of your "issues" including the free spending, elitist attitude of MOST politicians. Tell us what of our _principles_ you disagree with ;”

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21. jj said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 08:16PM

“nice bullshit article jv keep kissin those white haters at acorns asses”

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22. clarissa said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 08:53PM

“Mr. Valania,

I had to smile when I read of your covert efforts. You have a seriously wrong impression of those who are involved in moving the country back toward the views of the founding fathers. You would have been welcomed just as you are, although perhaps that would have taken away some of the fun for you.

Perhaps next time you will introduce yourself. And better yet, bring some friends with you. Let them see for themselves whether the Patriots are a bunch of crazies or whether they are those who are worried about your future and ours.

Incidentally there was no need to criticize the Media Inn, which is suffering from a difficult economy and in fact is closing their doors forever this month.”

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23. RJCJR said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 08:58PM

“So essentially, you're a pansy ass, left wing nut job that likes to use big words to make you sound intelligent and you just bored the hell out of everyone to say you went to a meeting, ate some stuff and went home. Following that, you waxed your carrot to pictures of Michael Moore, Obama and Adolf Hitler and came up with an article to feed the extreme paranoia felt by your peers. Have you ever wondered why the Republicans sit on the RIGHT side in Congress and Senate, are called RIGHT wing and bear the name REPUBLICAN. Maybe it because they are RIGHT, this Country is a REPUBLIC (while the political format is Democracy, the official term for the organization is Republic) and no matter who says otherwise they have a CAN do approach to everything. Get over yourself. All you are is a Left Wing Liberal nut job with a thesaurus who has to hide behind a latte, keyboard and disguises out of fear, because God forbid (Yes GOD, O my the NAACP will be after my IP address when they see that)”

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24. Rich said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 09:00PM

“Jonathan, please stop drinking Kool Aid. It's bad for you.”

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25. RJCJR said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 09:03PM

“...your real face be seen in public or you actual take a real, live stand on something, preferably without hiding behind Sestak signs and trying to intimidate drivers while walking in flowing traffic screaming his name with your blind faith due to his party affiliation. I bet 5 years ago you reviled Spector but now, again due to party affiliation, you have his picture next to your bed, right next to your mommy's. Of course, since you still live in her basement, that's understandable. Sir, this is simply my opinion and we are entitled to our own. However, there is no reason for such a wordy, over stated version of said opinion. I give you a D for your article, an F for you affiliations and an F- for the job your party has done over the last year. In GOD we trust and may GOD bless America.”

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26. Anonymous said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 09:10PM

“For jj -- that comment is barely translatable.”

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27. jmsheridan said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 09:16PM

“What restraint- no f-bomb til the last paragraph. There's a pro.”

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28. Christy said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 10:09PM

“Jonathan: Next time, be brave and come as your are, real name and all. You may have noticed, none of us are violent! Besides, we're mostly white old dudes(dudettes)! However, we have one advantage over you: we were once young, but you've never been old!
BUT, You forgot to mention what else I said: "Liberals love to think of themselves as intellectual and nuanced, but liberalism is incredibly simplistic. It's nothing more than "childlike emotionalism applied to adult issues." Very seldom does any issue that doesn't involve pandering to their supporters boil down at its core level to more than feeling "nice" or "mean" to liberals. This makes liberals ill equipped to deal with complex issues." Regards, Christy (AKA Brassy Blond Recovering Liberal)”

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29. Adam said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 10:39PM

“Anyone concerned with the military industrial complex, including Jonathan, is welcome to join us for a screening of "Why We Fight" on Monday Feb 15 at 7pm

Location
Ethical Society Building

1906 South Rittenhouse Sq
Philadelphia, PA 19103
484-904-6004

http://www.truth-freedom-prosperity.ws/calendar/12363684/”

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30. Dave said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 11:01PM

“Jonathan,
Based on the quality of our meeting place at least you now know there is no outside funding of our organization. As to our intent it is safe to say that we are feed up with both political parties. My goodness, what terrible people we are to peacefully meet at our expense and discuss the failings of our elected officials. Once you work 30, 40, 50 years or more you will understand why we no longer believe that the politicians in Washington really care about us. They are totally out of touch with the very people who elected them. God bless the Constitution and the freedom of speech; the very action of which your article attacked.”

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31. Joe America said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 11:27PM

“Jonathan is a brainwashed sheep. You have to feel sorry for somebody this stupid. And Jonathan, Fox News has higher ratings then CNN,CNBC, and MSNBC combined. You can watch Fox any day of the week and see many liberals.. Alan Colmbes,Bob Bickle, Marc Lamont Hill,Kirsten Powers,Juan Williams,Geraldo Riviera,Geraldine Ferraro just to name few.
Fox news gives you both sides,and lets you decide. Move on.org,the Daily kooks, MSNBC (the official network of the radical brainwashed kool aid drinking far left) does not want you watching Fox because then you may start to look at both sides of the issues and actually become an independent thinker!! Think about what a change it would be Jonathan,
actually being in control of you're own mind !!
One more thing Jonathan, stop parroting morons like Keith Olberman and Jennine Gorolfolo who think that white people who are against Obama are racists. Many of us are sure he will destroy our country. Skin color has nothing to do with it !!”

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32. corrective_unconscious said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 11:28PM

“WD-40 is excellent at helping to remove adhesive labels and residue, for future reference. And why didn't you find out what publication(s) the two African American attendees were scouting the teabaggers for?”

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33. Dapper Dan said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 12:25AM

“Another left wing jerkoff who thinks he's smarter than everyone else in the room. Jackass!!”

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34. Smarter than you think... said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 01:11AM

“It's a privilege to be demeaned by a "writer" of such low-class material as yourself. I would have been insulted if someone of your ilk had praised our values...I would have thought someone was wrong with US!

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35. Steve said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 03:17AM

“Thank god for people like The Delco Patriots & others who have come together to help fight for our constitution, supporting the troops, lower taxes & smaller gov't. Most of these people at those tea parties are regular people tired of big gov't spending & far left agendas. Its not a republican or democrat thing, its an American thing... And thats what these good Americans are fighting for.

Conservative values is common sense & facts over liberal emotion.”

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36. sassychick said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 07:39AM

“Jonathan, have the courage of your convictions. The problem with libs like you is that for all of your pseudointellectual drivel, you do not have the smarts to engage in honest debate. You would have been welcome to stand up and state your position but you would prefer to hide behind the pen. We "teabaggers" see the destruction the current powermongers have wreaked on this great nation and we want it to change back to a government of the people, by the people and for the people--that was the original idea--remember?? Grow up, Jonathan, and if you truly believe your gibberish like ramblings, articulate them the next time you crash a tea party.”

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37. Anonymous said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 08:09AM

“I may not be a 100% tea party person, but I go to the meetings because at least these people are seriously trying to do something to CHANGE things so that politics is not BUSINESS AS USUAL....and their passion and efforts are applaudable.”

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38. Anonymous said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 11:45AM

“Where were the Tea Party protests during the Bush years? We had 8 years of out of control spending and big government. Now that he's gone conservatives have the guts to say he made mistakes but where were you before 2009? The bottom line is that we live in a democracy and if the president does a bad job you have 4 years to find a better candidate. I didn't like Bush, I didn't vote for him in either election, and I think he severely damaged this country but I didn't protest him because the majority voted him in. I support Obama's values as do many others so just suck it up and deal with it the way us drivel spouting liberals had to for 8 years.”

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39. jguy said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 12:02PM

“Well said, Christy! Those were pretty much my feelings on this cowardly, self-absorbed hatchet job.”

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40. DelcoPat said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 12:24PM

“Thank you, we are working on finding that candidate. However, can you honestly say that during those 8 years, "drivel spouting liberals" like Moveon.org, Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan, Murtha, Kerry, et al. were sucking it up? Seems they were loud, the media covered them, and you didn't notice. The Tea Parties are loud, the media hardly covers them (take the lack of coverage of the 9/12/09 march on DC for example) and you notice.

We're loud because by being loud, the others in the "silent majority", who do show up in the polls and now in the elections of McDonnell, Christie, and Brown, realize they are not alone. They join us to get a voice, learn how to unify their vote, and even replace the career politicians that seem to have forgotten that they didn't just take a job, but an oath.

The worst drivel was "break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution" by a Consitutional law professor who should've have known about the 10th Amdmt.”

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41. Robbie said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 01:26PM

“I agree with Todd, you should have called these racist, regressive, crybabies out on their bologna. You were THERE, in the lion's den, and you didn't make them feel like the idiots they are?! Why?!”

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42. HaroldWho said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 02:17PM

“"the Tea Party people... It's a crowd with little demonstrable patience
for opposing views or dialogue with the enemy..."

Umm, I know *another* crowd with just those characteristics. That would
be the "Huffington Post-reading, NPR-listening, latte-sipping media
types..."”

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43. Sandi W.S. said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 02:44PM

“I LOVE WHITE MEN! Especially the ones who can see right through OBAMA's far, left looney toon ideas. It's okay to be upset when the President doesn't respect the American Patriots. Mr. Obama doesn't get it. We are not going to stand by and watch dingy Harry, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of his administration ruin our kids future. Jonathan Valania..you should keep coming to the Delco Patriots meetings, don't be afraid, we can help you to become much wiser, just come and be yourself. You can sit by me. I'm that one very proud..oh, you left out..conservative,black American,Republican lady, that have LOVED my country since I was a little girl!”

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44. Anonymous said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 03:28PM

“http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/jonathan-valania

We'll be on the lookout for this guy at the next meeting!

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45. Christopher Kirk said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 05:28PM

“Every Tea Party member will stand on his or her own Merit.
Will every Liberal Left Wing say that?”

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46. Drew said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 06:51PM

“You went to one meeting and wrote a cover story? Does anyone edit this paper?”

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47. jj said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 07:46PM

“its funny how liberal scocialists think everything is about race,but with the death penelty they throw out the race cards ceaselessly”

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48. FRANK said... on Feb 4, 2010 at 11:28PM

“Thanks for the article, Jonathan. You raise many valid points in your criticism of the Bush administration, although we could argue the accuracy of some of your points. To me, the Obama administration hit the tipping point. I have great respect for the Presidency and believe, in my heart, that President Obama is well intended. It's just that he is misguided and not up to the challenges facing the country. Nor is he heading us in the proper direction. I'm disappointed that the President has not worked in a non-partisan manner to address our country's as he promised, over and over again in the campaign.

The tea party movement not only opposes liberal policies but was started, in my view, to challenge the political class, both Ds and Rs. Our nation was founded on the notions of equality of freedom and equality of opportunity. The political class has lost sight of these concepts and needs to be challenged.

Respectfully submitted

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49. PK said... on Feb 5, 2010 at 11:30AM

“Calling people racists because they oppose Obama-care is moronic and dismissive of their opinions. I can't speak for all single mom libertarians in Philly but you've managed to alienate me from your publication. I guess the only people the Philly Weekly wants reading their paper are people who (as you say) wear skinny jeans and hang out at the POPE.

Just because you give the disclaimer that you are not being fair and balanced doesn't make it okay to be that way. I can't believe the Weekly would print a piece of such hateful drivel.”

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50. j. clark said... on Feb 5, 2010 at 12:46PM

“Well done. It is good for all people to know exactly what is swimming around in the heads of people that are just frightened and angry. The republican party and their brethern in Delaware County are no different, only more educated and calculating. Like a quiet Nazi in the corner, waiting for their chance.

When I moved from the city I joined the republican party unknowingly and man that was a big mistake. At a meeting, Everyone old, white, screwed down hairdoo with the cat glasses. All residing in the town of Mayberry mentally. I'm sitting there at a meeting and when an old gas bag over and wispers "we can't let them get in here." I ask her who is them, the Democrats? She answers well, not exactly. It is like one big Jerry Springer show complete with banjo music. Take a look at the r party in Delaware County, now there's a plane crash waiting to happen.”

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51. j. clark said... on Feb 5, 2010 at 01:01PM

“DelcoPat said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 08:03PM
“Mr. Valania: ( We'd have let you in and welcomed you.
......................................................................................................................
That's nice BUT, the Republican party will not welcome you unless you convert and put up your money for tickets to support their candidates. They do not ask.

When Bush came to Media Delaware county, the repubicans had morons with trench coats going up and down the line of people wanting to see their president. The people were already vetted by law enforcement. The morons asking people their names were not law enforcement, they were the republican nazi's in trench coats that "Acted" and dressed like they were goverment. They had radios and when anyone told them they were registered democrat, they were pulled out of line. This was in the paper and people just shrugged it off. All wackjobs.”

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52. DelcoPat said... on Feb 5, 2010 at 04:34PM

“j. clark said... on Feb 5, 2010 at 01:01PM
“DelcoPat said... on Feb 3, 2010 at 08:03PM
“Mr. Valania: ( We'd have let you in and welcomed you.

..."That's nice BUT, the Republican party will not welcome you..."

I'm not sure but perhaps you don't know what "non-partisan" means. That means that we are NOT affiliated with the Republican Party although it is true many, but not all, of us are registered in it. Or, you're saying I, and the other commenters that also said Mr. V would be welcome, are not only opportunistic "quiet Nazi"s but liars. Well, I'd have to suggest that you're illiterate as well as disrespectful since apparently you couldn't read the sentiment that followed "You may be surprised to learn that we have members running for office as Democrats as well as Independents." I can document my assertions, can you?

I assure you, none of us wears trenchcoats and I don't think ANYONE who has visited with us would say that we '"Acted" and dressed like they were goverment.'”

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53. Anonymous said... on Feb 5, 2010 at 07:12PM

“When I opened this week's paper, I had hoped to find out something new and interesting about the Tea Party movement. Instead, I found a xenophobic diatribe masquerading as journalism.

I don't have a problem with biases, especially those expressed upfront. But Mr. Vallania failed to talk to a single person at the DelCo Patriots meeting or to delve into the roots of the movement. Where does that get anyone? And where's the sense of compassion for fellow man, regardless of their political ideology?

"It’s a crowd with little demonstrable patience for opposing views or dialogue with the enemy," Mr. Vallania writes of the Tea Partiers.

He might as well be talking about himself.

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54. ProudAmerican said... on Feb 5, 2010 at 08:12PM

“Liberals!!! You are to far gone in the progressive arena to see where you are being lead by your believes that have been drilled into your head by the professors in your colleges. They distort history, drill your mind to their way of thinking.
Know your history and what is happening by the progressive agenda. It will be your downfall unless you wake up and see the truth! Look up the history. It is easy to listen and believe what you are being told. I am challenging you to do your research from the past..
Our Constitution is our law, not your agenda or interpretation of the law.
God Bless our Troops and thank you all for your service and sacrifice to save America and freedom!”

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55. Anonymous said... on Feb 5, 2010 at 08:26PM

“wow, the implied racism was huge, and all on the author's part, without any actual evidence. and just saying "this article is not fair or balanced" doesn't make it ok to write it. it's more of a reason to not write the article. this is coming from someone who voted for Obama.”

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56. Gary Meyerson said... on Feb 6, 2010 at 02:54AM

“If the Tea Party is really interested in "government by the people" as they claim to be, it's seems self-defeating for them to align themselves so closely with the Republican Party. Dick Armey's dick army, also known as Freedomworks, Inc. is a tool of the Corporate Greedmongers who have absolutely no interest whatsoever in any one of the 250 citizens who met in that moldy restaurant basement, except to use them to disrupt the efforts of the Obama Administration which, ironically, is working very hard to help these same 250 people and their families. Freedom takes a vacation when Freedomworks works, and it takes a full sabbatical when the Supreme Court 5 open the floodgates of corporate spending to support candidates whose aim is to further suppress the will of the 250 Americans who met that night. Why? Because they need corporate campaign contributions to fund their massive media campaigns for re-election. So, you tell me, does THAT sound like "government by the people" to you???”

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57. ProudAmerican said... on Feb 6, 2010 at 10:59AM

“Acording to USA Today the Department of Transportation had just 1 employee making 170,000.00 per year, 1 1/2 later it has 1,690 making over that. So who is paying off who Gary? Unions are gathering power and money, note card check, to buy politicians in both parties, and who is signing on to it is who to look at. Not us. We don't get paid by anyone or payoff any one! We are taking our country back from 535 people who forgot who they work for and we will be watching and informing our members if they can't or won't do what they promised. They are all guilty of it. No more trust will be placed in any of them. They keep us (politicians) apart because they keep the power over us. Divide and conquer! If we unite (you and me as Americans), they loose. We the people can gain our power back. We will support any candidate (not monetarily) who will follow the Constitution! Federal government doesn't care about our rights. So we (the people) need to gain control back from all of them! GBA!”

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58. DelcoPat said... on Feb 8, 2010 at 11:11AM

“Gary Meyerson said... on Feb 6, 2010 at 02:54AM
"Dick Armey's dick army, also known as Freedomworks, Inc. is a tool of the Corporate Greedmongers"

I'm not sure of the factual content of the statement but my opinion is that Mr. Armey had his chance while he was House Majority Leader. It IS time for him to move aside as a leader. However, as an American he is still allowed to help.”

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59. Hates hypocrisy said... on Feb 8, 2010 at 05:11PM

“Valania, who levels the accusation of racism without reason, then says, "There were two black people in attendance; they didn’t appear to know each other." What a surprise--two black people who don't know each other! Even Archie Bunker would be embarrassed to make such a stupid, racist statement.”

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60. Jerry said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 08:52PM

“Were we at the same meeting? No one was screened out and no one needed to park down the street and sneak in incognito. To me, these are simple educational meetings.
These were folks quite concerned over key national issues. In fact most were women (well spoken, well researched, articulate), not the 'classic angry white males' you described. I personally knew a medical doctor, a teacher, a plumber and an accountant at the meeting. This was not a 'three cheers for Bush' group. These folks are concerned with what is going on with the country - including some (not all) of the issues mentioned in your article.

I suggestion you come back. Open your mind. Surveys are showing these folks are on target, making an impact in elections and saying simple things, like... Don't even consider 'do good' projects unless you can afford them. Do what is necessary to protect our citizens even if it is politically incorrect. Wake-up Jonathan. Quit sitting in the shadow like a sniping liberal.”

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61. Fran, a tea partyer said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 09:20PM

“Jonathan, obviously you came with a biased mind & we tea-partiers didn't change it. We are not against healthcare for americans, we don't think we should pay for it for illegal aliens who have not earned it. We do not believe in "spreading the wealth" as the progressives want. We believe in the old fashion way: earn it. You must have had a bad childhood school experience since you keep referring to people reminding you of others from elementary school--sorry about that. Yes, there are a lot of us who are senior citizens because we see what is happening and what is proposed for our future and we don't like it. However, many young people also agree with us. We do watch Fox as you said but then most people nowadays are watching Fox. If you haven't noticed CNN & MSNBC are fading into the sunset. They just aren't fair & balanced but liberal & angry. I pray you will change your ways--I pray lots of liberals will do that soon.”

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62. bethannbee said... on Feb 11, 2010 at 05:00PM

“I'm a member of the Delco Pats and I think this article is mostly true and very funny. The writer has done a nice job of defining who comprises the group and what the agenda is. He is off-track about the Conservatives' view of George Bush. Many Conservatives did a fair share of talking back to Mr Bush but no one I know really believed Mr Bush did't love this country and it's people. In all honesty even the most devoted defender of Pres Obama has to question who he loves better; himself or this Nation and it's people.
As for the comment about our color ratio; it's fair to say that we welcome people of all color if the writer had spoken to them I think he would have been surprised to know that we "judge a person by the content of his character not the color of his skin". I'm thinking that someone who counts the number of people of color has a racial bias all his own.
Anyway, we welcome Jonathan to our meetings any time but from now on he should be honest about who he is.”

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63. Anonymous said... on Feb 15, 2010 at 09:33AM

“I was at the meeting, Unfortunately, your interest in spinning a tale colided with the truth of what the movement is about and what was said-- there were far less 25 than the 250 you claim. It goes downhill from there. You should have had a camera-otherwise, you are merely postulating the majority pre-conceived notion of what the Tea Party is about for a paycheck. Hope this amplifies your "journalistic" credentials.”

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64. Rob P. said... on Feb 17, 2010 at 06:47AM

“JV ~ Interesting...You must remember that the recent tea party movement was sparked in 2007 during Ron Paul's bid for the presidency.Who is Ron Paul? A 12 term congressman from Texas who has never voted contrary to the Constitution. What do most of his supporters believe? We are anti-war on terror, anti-war on drugs, anti-undeclared war, ANTI-Patriot Act, anti-waterboarding, anti-Federal Reserve, pro individual liberty. We are against all forms of aggression and confiscation of property and liberty at the barrel of a gun. We are aware of the false left~right paradigm that exists in the minds of most Americans. We know Glenn Beck is a shill, as are most talking heads in the main-stream-media. We come from all walks of life, all ethnicities, all political persuasions. Join us at www.CampaignforLiberty.com or www.DailyPaul.com

Fpr Liberty,

Rob P”

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65. Geraldine, Dare I Say "Liberal" said... on Feb 19, 2010 at 02:05PM

“Thank you for the article. I must agree with some of the comments to the article that to the non-Liberal responders made. That the article may have lacked enough substance to be convincing, and therefore sounded petty and accusatory. The drawing of imagery from his descriptions of the "Tea-partyers" was a shallow way to go. The one-liners about their comments, followed by a paragraph on commentary on their appearance, might have proved good novel-writing skills, but not necessarily good journalism skills. The goal of the free-thinking, intelligent person (a Liberal by definition) is not to join the "Us-against-Them" mentality, but to educate "Them" to reality by comparing specific policies to show what the results could be and the probable benefits of one policy over another; Pointing out in detail the problems with former political decisions and detailing how mistakes from those decisions are visible in all our lives; Outlining how a "Change" of some kind is imperative.”

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66. Geraldine, Dare I Say "Liberal" said... on Feb 19, 2010 at 02:28PM

“THIS IS WHERE I WAS CUT OFF: Outlining that a "Change" of some kind is imperative (I was cut off here) to correct those mistakes. These are things that can bring about reasonable debate, between reasonable people (and we have to acknowledge that odds favor that their must be at least some reasonable "Right-wingers" just as there are some overly biased "Left-wingers"). I believe that dismissing your opponents skill and intelligence is the surest way to suffer defeat and that that was what the writer was attempting to do.

The writer's emphasis on "Disguising himself to mingle among The Enemy" is in itself becoming the other side of the axe-blade that will butcher this nation. He does damage to the issues, policy decisions and Policy Makers he was intending to support.

To My Brother:
PS: As one of the more intelligent and knowledgeable Liberals, you should Blog more yourself!
Love Yah!”

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67. CJ said... on Mar 4, 2010 at 10:35PM

“at the MINIMUM.. a Tea Party movement creates something that this country SORELY NEEDS. Stop nitpicking cause they arent 100% to YOUR ideals. How have the Democrats and Republicans served us? Pretty sh!tty. They are run by lobbyists. We NEED MORE POLITICAL PARTIES. Dont be short-sighted.”

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68. Ryan Welch said... on Apr 9, 2010 at 03:29PM

“All of you "useful idiots" are welcome at any Tea Party, you just might learn something but I doubt it.

The problem with liberals is that they know so much that isn't so. ~Ronald Regan~

The Tea Party movement is definitely not racist nor is it partisan, and if you had the courage to find out for yourselves you would know that.

But if you are stupid enough to go “Liberal Hulk” on anybody don’t be surprised when some Combat Vet firmly escorts you out and tosses you on your “Huffington Post -reading, NPR-listening, latte-sipping” butt.

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69. jim said... on Apr 10, 2010 at 07:22PM

“Good article, Thank you for caring enough to come to our meeting. Most of us were yelling at the tv when Bush was president, but didn't know what to do about it. We called, wrote and e mailed our elected officials and realized that Sestak, Casey and Specter were not there to help us. They were part of the problem. We thought we were alone, then the tea parties started and it gave us a voice. We want to do right by our country. We are rookies at this political stuff, but at least we are trying. You are correct that we do not have enough people of color, but with the progressive media painting us as racist every chance they get, joining a tea party might not seem inviting to my brothers and sisters of color. We just want our elected representatives to keep thier oaths, get out of bed with the corporatations, unions, and green cronies. Cut spending, dismantle the huge corrupt federal bureaucracy and let each state carve out thier own future. Restore the republic.”

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70. Kevin Metz said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 10:41AM

“Does it really take a paper with no next to no credibility to infiltrate a group where 50% are Republicans 40% are independents, and 10% are actually registered Democrats? Why does it upset you that they are all white? Would it upset you if you went to a Baptist Church in South Philly and you didn't see any white people? The truth is you are a coward and they would have welcomed you if you had just been yourself. Your rhetoric from the start of your article shows you went there biased and makes it hard for the reader to believe you are telling the truth about what hapened. With all the secret cameras, like the meanie white guy spitting on the black Congressman (debunked once it showed to be nothing more than a shout with a side order of silivia), why didn't you film your top secret investigative journalism mission? Or did you tape it but it is just easier to exaggerate or downright lie when the tape actually shows the Tea Party to be non-violent and non racist? Wheres the tape?”

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71. Anonymous said... on May 11, 2010 at 09:44PM

“The author of the OP went through a great deal of trouble to "sneak" into a meeting that was FREE to be attended by whomever with whatever political viewpoint. Simply put, the freedom movement is about freedom!

SO, JV, there is no need to impersonate a character from a book that you never read just so you can come off as endearing to the people in the meeting... In fact, you will probably be welcomed by saying exactly who you are, and you will actually gain notoriety for having the intestinal fortitude to show up without pretense. If you like, attend the Montgomery County Libertarian Meeting held the first Wednesday of every month at the Philadelphia Inquirer building in Bridgeport, PA. You will be welcome to elaborate on why it is that you feel our nation is better with bigger government. Dazzle us with your acumen.

Ciao, CZ”

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72. James- a mixed race Delco Patriot said... on Jun 19, 2010 at 01:04PM

“I only have one point to make- you make several snide remarks against Ayn Rand and her novel "Atlas Shrugged" as if you could ever write a book that has sold over 25 million copies. Ayn Rand would laugh at this attempt at "journalism" and probably wonder how a 3rd grader was able to infiltrate a tea party meeting without his parents knowing. You ought to show respect for a much superior and much more influential writer than you could ever hope to be.”

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73. James- a mixed race Delco Patriot said... on Jun 19, 2010 at 01:08PM

“I take the above comment back I have one last comment to make haha...

The author asks where were the Tea Parties during the Bush administration? The first Tea Party meeting was in December 2007 in Boston in support of Ron Paul's presidential campaign at Faneuil Hall. So they were doing exactly the same thing during the Bush administration as they are now, they just have grown in number and voice recently. If you were a real journalist you would have been able to research that very easily.”

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74. Cath Col said... on Jul 4, 2010 at 10:25AM

“First let me tell you that the the Delco Patriots are not funded by any local, state for federal crooked politicians which is why they cannot pay for high style digs such as you would like.

Then let me ask you why you are so afraid of the Patriots. They do nothing violent. Are you among the 49% citizenry who pay no taxes? Are you afraid you free ride may some day be gone?

Then let me tell you that they have a different meeting location.

You reply to these comments is expected.”

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75. jeannie said... on Aug 12, 2010 at 07:47PM

“hey why not some facts, like insurance is going to sky rocket in the next 3 years, until 2014 when obama care kicks in we will see insurance go through the roof. nooooooooo you want to make it a black and white issue. and here is another fact, I have taken in 3 homeless people this past year. all have ssi checks,access cards and health insurance, they pay no copays for dr. visits and only 1 dollar for prescriptions yes thats right 1 dollar. i work 1 full time job and 2 part time jobs. if you guessed that i pay 30 dollars for dr visits up to 50 dollars for precriptions. not to mention 150 dollars a day up to 5 days for a hospital visit and now my employer wants me to pay 7.8 percent of what they pay for my medical and give me a 1 percent raise. and as an american i should sit back and think nothing of it. I don't think so. so in your next article let's hear some fact;s. and oh yeah you do sound just like the guy's from fox news, just opposite.”

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76. Anonymous said... on Oct 5, 2011 at 09:55AM

“I would highly suggest that anyone reading this article who is a free thinker should attend a Tea Party meeting and not take the "author of this article at his word. The fact that the author brings unfounded racial assumptions into his article indicates that he himself is the racist. Racist's are not critical thinkers and therefore their credibility is suspect in any argument they may make.

I therefore once again suggest that all free thinkers who want to know what the Tea Party is really about attend a meeting, find out for themselves, an not depend on Jonathan Valania for what is regarded as "just true."

Tea Party Member Extraordinaire and an Elected Official of Chester County,

Mr. Paul

Paul "”

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